Who Killed Pre-Tertiary Education In Nigeria?

This quote by Albert Einstein is lost on Nigeria. The country has forgotten everything-the foundation set by education pioneers, the academic excellence, the pure joy in being educated.

In the 17th and 18th century when the missionaries landed in Nigeria, their aim was to introduce the Christian religion. To achieve this, they introduced formal education using a method of the 3Rs (Writing, Reading and Arithmetic) hence the establishment of the Nursery of Infant Church in 1843. In the following events, Missionaries would go on to establish post-primary education schools, Christian Missionary Society (CMS) Grammar School, in 1859.

By the time the British colony got established in to make trade and communication easier for the colonial masters, they founded the first government college, Kings College in 1909 with 10 male pioneer students.

It had as its policy, “to provide for the youth of the colony a higher general education than that supplied by the existing Schools, to prepare them for Matriculation Examination of the University of London and to give a useful course of Study to those who intend to qualify for professional life or to enter Government or Mercantile service.”

To ensure the effectiveness of this policy, the school was designed to accommodate 300 students, with 8 lecture rooms, a chemical laboratory and an office.

This was based on ensuring a productive and successful life after being educated. At least one person from the school was awarded scholarship to study in Great Britain.

A popular recipient of this is Alex Ekwueme who was awarded a scholarship to study in the United States of America.

Kings’ College was not the only school to effect this policy. Harold Demuren, the first African to be elected president of International Civil Aviation Organisation, won a USSR scholarship after his study in Ijebu Ode grammar school.

Students of these schools with the conducive learning environment, qualified teachers and relevant curriculum continued to enjoy academic excellence with their students travelling abroad to study further and on their return securing high placed positions in multinational companies like UAC, Leventies.

However, there were students who study within the country and still continued in the path of excellence. A popular example is Dora Akunyili, Wole Soyinka, Chinua Achebe amongst others.

These benefits informed most parents of the need to send their children to school after they had seen the success achieved by their children’s educated peers.

After independence, there was need to educate more people to tackle the need for economic development that Nigeria was saddled with. Hence, the Nigerian government took over management of government schools and more government schools were established to cater for the growing number of people enrolling in schools.

The academic excellence continued although the government was faced with the challenge of establishing more schools to accommodate the growing number of students since they could not leave the task to the missionary schools alone.

Most parents could not afford to pay the fees this left only the children of the elites and wealthy to enjoy.

This problem informed Obafemi Awolowo’s decision to agitate for a mandatory Free Universal Primary Education programme in January 17, 1955. In his words, “In order to attain to the goals of economic freedom and prosperity, Nigeria must do certain things as a matter of urgency and priority.

It must provide free education (at all levels)…” He was not wrong- Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Ekiti, Ondo, Edo, and Delta (the Western Region quickly became a source of reference in education and development, attracted an influx of non Nigerians including westerners relocate to serve as teachers and headmasters.

This statement is also in line with the Article 6 of the 1984 Universal Declaration of Human Rights states categorically, that “Everyone has a right to education.

Education shall be free in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory.”

he government was once again faced with another challenge of catering to the fast growing number of children in the schools since it became free. Schools designed to accommodate 300 students were overcrowded with inadequate facility to accommodate the teeming number of students. With the government bothering itself with other concerns, education took a backburner and by the 90s, the unavailability of chairs, space, equipment and budgetary allocation changed.

With the decline of the Nigerian economy other sectors quickly followed suit – education, health, infrastructure, security.

The education sector suffered a great deal from the decline: schools were no longer maintained; some became dilapidated, and teachers were owed salaries for an extended period.

The students bore the brunt most from this as an environment conducive enough for learning became absent and incessant strike actions were no longer a novelty.

Students fell behind in their curriculum since they stayed at home when they were supposed to be in school. Obi et al in their study, Impact Of Government Expenditure On Education:

The Nigerian Experience in the journal, International Journal of Business and Finance Management Research, citing Aigbokhan et al. (2005), noted that the period 1978 –1999 was one of the worst times for education in Nigeria’s history.

It also mentions that it quickly led to the “deterioration of educational fixed assets, inadequate funding and declining standards”.

Government schools became a shadow of themselves and business men began to take advantage. Because the government could not establish as many schools as were needed, they opened the floor for individuals to set up private schools with standards to be strictly followed enforced by the ministries of education.

But officials tasked with this sacred can hardly claim to have been very strict with the enforcement of standards.

Cash-and-carry success

A teacher who choose to remain anonymous explained to Guardian Life that there are three classes of private schools – the mission schools owned by churches, the international affiliated private schools established by foreigners and the Nigerian-owned private schools.

The teacher transitioned from teaching in a Nigerian-owned private school to teaching in a mission school. While teaching in the former, she noted that the proprietor charged extra fees from students taking the Senior School Certificate Exam to ensure that she paid to acquire the question papers before the exam dates.

This malpractice is not lost on the parents, the school and the Examination council, the teacher said.

This case is not in an isolation. Since the Owosho and EXPO 77 scandal, the West African Examiation Council has had to battle the scourge of examination malpractices. The Council on a number of times came up with innovations to rein in the ugly trends. But each of these innovations have turned out to be only effective temporarily.

The teacher added there were instances where parents whose children were appropriately disciplined came to the school and threatened to pull out their wards if the teacher was not sanctioned. In this regard, in a bid for the school to maintain its clientele, school owners danced.

A woman whose child attends a school in a highbrow area of Lagos state told Guardian Life that paying the school fees meant that her child would be taught phonetics and would speak like the white man. She also argued that it is beyond the fees: sports such as gymnastics, swimming, international excursions and possible connections can be got.

“I do not think the fees are outrageous. I am paying for quality. Besides, my child will be able to meet other children like her and who knows? She might establish relations that will seal her future in Nigeria.”

Low-income families who cannot afford the mission and international schools enroll their wards in private schools, a lot of which are unregistered. To make up for the limited availability of resources, most teachers in unregistered private schools do not undergo the necessary training and have qualifying certifications.

More so, parents are lured with false academic excellence and stellar performance of their students which was purchased through education malpractice, bribery and corruption. Our source told us that some of these ‘low-cost’ private schools in their secondary level, bribe examination council officials and secure the question papers for Senior secondary examination exams, have the subject teachers solve them and the students merely copy the answers.

With this, it is easy to conclude that this set of private schools impact little or nothing to the development of the child, it is easy to say that private schools have done otherwise but not according to the two-year study research carried out by James Tooley and Pauline Dixon in their study Private Education is Good for the Poor: A Study of Private Schools Serving the Poor in Low-Income Countries in 2005.

The research which was carried out in India, Ghana, Nigeria and Kenya reveal that the calling for the closure of private schools that offer low quality education means denying the poor, “the role of reaching the poor and satisfying their educational needs”.

Tooley and Dixon found out that 75% of the students in 540 schools attended private schools. 43% of these schools are unregistered. Yet the authors of the study noticed that success rates in Mathematics and English is high the study also faults United Nations claims that private unregistered schools be closed because “so many children are in unrecognised private schools that do not appear in government statistics”.

A source at the Lagos State Ministry of Education said the state government was aware of the existence of many unregistered private schools in the state. The source said the government was already working with the owners to ensure they are standardised and registered.

“What we are doing is that we are educating private institutions in the education sector as to what the rules and qualifications are to get them approved. We are doing that knowing that such schools are not approvable at all. In order not to create unnecessary displacement and further enlarge the out-of-school children, we are trying to bring them onboard to see what they can do to meet up to standard by guiding them. However, those that are not approvable are kicked out of the booth.”

Yet, a principal in a Lagos State-owned secondary school, who pleaded anonymity, disagreed with the credibility of the aforementioned research. While she argued that the problems with public schools differ from area to area, she noted that she has not noticed any effort or changes made the government clamp down on the number of unregistered private schools.

She, however, added that government schools have managed to maintain teaching standards and quality assurance. According to her, “90% of their teachers have teaching qualifications and the student: teacher ratio is 50:1”.

Also, mass promotion in public schools in Lagos has been discontinued and students are required to get the pass mark of at least 50% to move onto the next class. Parents’ belief that the government should be responsible for everything including school uniforms makes some of the students go to their teachers who out of their goodwill, purchase for them some school essentials.

Yet, parents withdraw their children to attend these unregistered schools.

Who is responsible for this rot?

According to Justin W. van Fleet of the Brookings Institution “There are seven countries in which 40 percent or more of children do not meet a minimum standard of learning by grades 4 or 5. In countries such as Ethiopia, Nigeria and Zambia, over half of in-school students are not learning basic skills by the end of primary school”.

A civil servant who chose to remain anonymous reaffirmed this stating that the “Government primary schools hardly graduate students who can read and write. Also, children are not given enough attention like their private counterparts. Government primary schools hardly graduate students who can read and write. Also, children are not given enough attention like their private counterparts.”

Teachers, on the other hand, argue that public schools offer quality education, but parents will rather take their children to special centres that promise guaranteed success in external exams, albeit through dubious means.

“If you do not bribe your way through, you won’t know if they are really good at the subjects. After all, there is a difference between having a result and earning a result,” a teacher told Guardian Life.

Yet, we cannot ignore the excellent academic standards set by certain schools and their dedication towards ensuring their students are able to compete with students across the world.

Rather than engage in blame-game, concerted efforts should be directed towards ensuring that public schools regain their lure. “The well-to-do in the society and alumni of the public institutions, foundations and the rest should see these schools as public property and as a donation to humanity,” the source at the Lagos Ministry of Education said.

“ We should develop the habit of willfully trying to intervene in these public schools without necessarily expecting positive. The fewer the uncatered, the better the security”.


Source : Guardian

3 thoughts on “Who Killed Pre-Tertiary Education In Nigeria?

  • July 5, 2019 at 1:49 am

    Hey, how’s it going?

    I want to pass along some very important news that everyone needs to hear!

    In December of 2017, Donald Trump made history by recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Why is this big news? Because by this the Jewish people of Israel are now able to press forward in bringing about the Third Temple prophesied in the Bible.

    Jewish Rabbis have publicly announced that their Messiah will be revealed in the coming years who will be a leader and spiritual guide to all nations, gathering all religions under the worship of one God.

    Biblical prophecy tells us that this Jewish Messiah who will take the stage will be the antichrist “who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God” (2 Thessalonians 2:4). For a time he will bring about a false peace, but “Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (Matthew 24:15)…then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be” (Matthew 24:21).

    More importantly, the power that runs the world wants to put a RFID microchip in our body making us total slaves to them. This chip matches perfectly with the Mark of the Beast in the Bible, more specifically in Revelation 13:16-18:

    “He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

    Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666.”

    Referring to the last days, this could only be speaking of a cashless society, which we have yet to see, but are heading towards. Otherwise, we could still buy or sell without the mark amongst others if physical money was still currency. This Mark couldn’t be spiritual because the word references two different physical locations. If it was spiritual it would just say in the forehead. RFID microchip implant technology will be the future of a one world cashless society containing digital currency. It will be implanted in the right-hand or the forehead, and we cannot buy or sell without it. Revelation 13:11-18 tells us that a false prophet will arise on the world scene doing miracles before men, deceiving them to receive this Mark. Do not be deceived! We must grow strong in Jesus. AT ALL COSTS, DO NOT TAKE IT!

    “Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name” (Revelation 14:9-11).

    People have been saying the end is coming for many years, but we needed two key things. One, the Third Temple, and two, the technology for a cashless society to fulfill the prophecy of the Mark of the Beast.

    Visit http://WWW.BIBLEFREEDOM.COM to see proof for these things and why the Bible truly is the word of God!

    If you haven’t already, it is time to seek God with all your heart. Jesus loves you more than you could imagine. He wants to have a relationship with you and redeem you from your sins. Turn to Him and repent while there is still hope! This is forever…God bless!


    We all know God exists. Why? Because without Him, we couldn’t prove anything at all. Do we live our lives as if we cannot know anything? No. So why is God necessary? In order to know anything for certain, you would have to know everything, or have revelation from somebody who does. Who is capable of knowing everything? God. So to know anything, you would have to be God, or know God.

    A worldview without God cannot account for the uniformity and intelligibility of nature. And why is it that we can even reason that God is the best explanation for this if there is no God? We are given reason to know or reject God, but never to know that He does not exist.

    It has been calculated by Roger Penrose that the odds of the initial conditions for the big bang to produce the universe that we see to be a number so big, that we could put a zero on every particle in the universe, and even that would not be enough to use every zero. What are the odds that God created the universe? Odds are no such thing. Who of you would gamble your life on one coin flip?

    Is there evidence that the Bible is the truth? Yes. Did you know that the creation accounts listed in the book of Genesis are not only all correct, but are also in the correct chronological order? That the Bible doesn’t say the Earth was formed in six 24-hour days but rather six long but finite periods of time? That the Bible makes 10 times more creation claims than all major “holy” books combined with no contradictions, while these other books have errors in them? The Bible stood alone by concurring with the big bang saying, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Genesis 1:1); and says our universe is expanding, thousands of years before scientists discovered these things. Watch a potential life-changing video on the front page of http://WWW.BIBLEFREEDOM.COM with Astronomer(PhD) Hugh Ross explaining all these facts based on published scientific data. He has authored many books, backed even by atheist scientists.

    Jesus fulfilled more than 300 Messianic prophecies concerning His birth place, details of His life, His mission, His nature, His death, and His resurrection. He came to pay a debt that we could not, to be our legal justifier to reconcile us back to a Holy God; only if we are willing to receive Him: “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).

    God so loved the world that He gave us His only begotten son, so that whoever believes in Him, through faith, shall not perish, but have everlasting life. Jesus says if we wish to enter into life to keep the commands! The two greatest commands are to love God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind; and your neighbor as yourself. All the law hang on these commands. We must be born of and lead by the Holy Spirit, to be called children of God, to inherit the kingdom. If we are willing to humble ourselves in prayer to Jesus, to confess and forsake our sins, He is willing to give the Holy Spirit to those who keep asking of Him; giving us a new heart, leading us into all truth!

    Jesus came to free us from the bondage of sin. The everlasting fire was prepared for the devil and his angels due to disobedience to God’s law. If we do the same, what makes us any different than the devil? Jesus says unless we repent, we shall perish. We must walk in the Spirit, producing fruits of love and forgiveness, so we may not fulfill the lusts of the flesh being hatred, fornication, drunkenness and the like. Whoever practices such things will not inherit the kingdom (Galatians 5:16-26). If we sin, we may come before Jesus to ask for forgiveness (1 John 2:1-2). Evil thoughts are not sins, but rather temptations. It is not until these thoughts conceive and give birth by our hearts desire that they become sin (James 1:12-15). When we sin, we become in the likeness of the devil’s image, for he who sins is of the devil (1 John 3:8); but if we obey Jesus, in the image of God. For without holiness, we shall not see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14).

    The oldest religion in the world is holiness (James 1:27). What religion did Adam and Eve follow before the fall? Jesus, Who became the last Adam, what religion does He follow? Is He not holy? He never told us to follow any religion or denomination but to deny ourselves, take up our cross daily, and follow Him (Luke 9:23). There are many false doctrines being taught leading people astray. This is why we need the Holy Spirit for discernment. Unlike religion, holiness cannot be created. It is given to us from above by the baptism of the Spirit. Jesus is more than a religion; He is about having a personal relationship with the Father. Start by reading the Gospel of Matthew, to hear the words of God, to know His character and commandments. Follow and obey Jesus, for He is the way, the truth, and the life!

  • November 16, 2019 at 12:43 pm

    *There are some interesting points in time in this article but I don?t know if I see all of them center to heart. There is some validity but I will take hold opinion until I look into it further. Good article , thanks and we want more! Added to FeedBurner as well

  • January 28, 2020 at 9:24 am

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